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Timeline of Florida's Quran-burning pastor
Florida pastor Terry Jones.
April 1st, 2011
01:33 PM ET

Timeline of Florida's Quran-burning pastor

On Friday, a bloody attack on a United Nations building in Mazar-e Sharif is suspected to have been carried out by a mob protesting  last month's Quran burning by Pastor Terry Jones.  The Florida pastor made headlines last year when he threatened to burn Qurans to protest Islam, on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  On March 20, he went through with the act, this time failing to attract widespread media attention.  However, the incident triggered outrage in Pakistan, which condemned the desecration and called for him to be charged with terrorism.  Here's a timeline of events leading up to the Quran burning:

July 2010

Pastor Terry Jones, head of the 60-member Dove World Outreach Center church near Gainesville, Florida, announces he will host "International Burn a Quran Day" on the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. He tells CNN at the time that the event is to protest "the brutality of Islamic law" and that "Islam is of the devil."

The event is roundly denounced by a number of groups, including the National Association of Evangelicals.

August 2010

Religious leaders in Gainesville, Florida, hold a peace gathering to show solidarity in their opposition to Jones' planned event. The city of Gainesville denies a burn permit to Dove World Outreach Center, but the church says it still plans to go ahead with the Quran burning. Jones says an armed Christian organization, Right Wing Extreme, will provide security for the church. The organization later pulls its support, saying the event "does not glorify God."

September 2010

Jones signals that he may reconsider the Quran burning after a warning from Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, that it could put U.S. forces in danger.

The Vatican and others continue to urge the church not to burn Islam's holy book as worldwide protests start to heat up. Meanwhile, the U.S. military prepares for the worst.

Days before the planned event, Jones gives mixed messages about whether he intends to carry out his plans: He calls the Quran burning off, then says the church will "rethink our position."   As the date approaches, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and President Barack Obama publicly urge him to call off the event. Jones also announces he plans to travel to New York on the day of the planned burning to meet with the imam behind a proposed Islamic center near ground zero, the site of the 9/11 attacks.

On September 11, 2010, Jones tells NBC, "We will definitely not burn the Quran. Not today, not ever."  He heads to New York where he sets up a meeting with the imam in charge of the proposed ground zero Islamic center.   Speculation that Jones called off the Quran burning as part of a deal to move the proposed Islamic center is disputed by a Florida Muslim leader.  Meanwhile, analysts criticize the media coverage of Jones and speculate whether it was all a publicity stunt by a pastor from a small Florida town.

October 2010

A New Jersey dealership gives Jones a free car for calling off the Quran burning.

December 2010-January 2011

Jones is invited to speak at an English Defense League rally in February 2011, but the British government denies him entry.  Jones vows to take legal action.

March  2011

Jones announces he will hold "International Judge the Koran Day" on March 20, in which he stages a mock trial of the Quran, burns the Muslim holy book, and posts photos on his church's website. The incident receives little media attention in the United States, but is publicly condemned by Pakistan's government. The country's interior minister calls for international terrorism charges to be leveled against Jones, according to The Associated Press of Pakistan.

Jones says he plans to take part in an April protest at the American Islamic Community Center, in Dearborn, Michigan, outside Detroit. The protest against "Sharia and Jihad" is scheduled for Good Friday, two days before Easter.  Officials at the Islamic Center of America are still deciding how to respond, though they are leaning toward a Good Friday counter-event that would bring together religious leaders of different backgrounds to encourage tolerance and interfaith dialogue.

April 1, 2011

Protests break out in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan against the March 20 Quran burning in Florida. A United Nations source says an attack on a U.N. building in the city that left 12 people killed - eight U.N. workers and four Afghans - followed those protests.

Jones issues a statement calling the killings “tragic,”  and urging the United States and the United Nations to “hold these countries and people accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuses they may use to promote their terrorist activities.”

- CNN.com Senior Producer

Filed under: Florida • Islam • Pakistan • Quran

soundoff (606 Responses)
  1. tallulah13

    Jones had every right to burn the Quran, but because he knew there would be consequences he had a moral obligation to refrain from doing so. Sadly, his ego was more important to him than the lives of strangers, and the lives of American soldiers. Now people are dead because of his actions, and the terrorists have been given a new recruiting tool.

    There is no criminal prosecution possible (though perhaps there could be in civil court), so all that remains is for decent people to reject his actions and to call him what he is - an ego-centric coward.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Theoderic

      Tallulah13, I agree with you wholeheartedly! Your brief analysis is cogent & needing no addenda. Just for the hell of it though, I would still like to see him land at a Pakistani airport with bible in hand....

      April 5, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  2. dean in LA

    Love your enemies.

    April 1, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Theoderic

      I love all religious people! That is why I want to help them find heaven as quickly as possible. THEN, I can live in peace for the remainder of my heathen days

      April 5, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  3. Raymond S

    Even though he burned "Just a book"..it happens to be the Koran! Terry Jones has shown his hatred for Muslims by doing so. They have shown their hatred and retaliation with violence and murder. Burning a book isnt violence, killing people is!! The ones who killed the UN people should be held responsible for murder! We dont start killing people when they burn our flag and terrorists of the Muslim faith hijack airplanes and kill thousands of people.We are more civil, forgive and trust that justice will be done! We live in America of which many are jealous, and some people cant understand that one persons actions dont reflect the entire population of America.

    April 1, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  4. joan....change christian

    This guy " JONES" is a murder, he knew what would have happen if he did what he did. Muslins take their faith more serious than us so call CHRISTAINS!!!!who believe in hate and looking to blame anyone that do not read the KING JAMES bible as the enemy

    April 1, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  5. Doug

    On one hand this character Jones is obviously a flake trying to garner attention and more attendance/donations at his lil ole country church and is responsible for the inflamation of the reactionaries in Pakistan and Afganistan, on the other hand, the Afgans are acting like bloodthirsty neanderthals by attacking anyone who disagrees with their dark ages interpretation of Islam. Most Pakistanis seem to fall along the same lines. Both should be throw in a cell and the key melted down to a nice paperweight.

    April 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Worldpeace

      What about killing of tens of thousands of people by your christian governments. First send the fighter jets kill as much as possile, destry the economy, then send the aid along the missionaries! What the fk is going on here! In one war the christians governments get their oils and conversion!

      April 1, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @worldpeace – Have you forgotten all the horrible things done by both sides in almost every war? You think war is one-sided, but it is usually two- or more-sided. If things were that simple the world would be a different place entirely.
      To bring up the past is to also bring up all the evil things done by your side as well.
      The problem is crazy people following crazy rules and old books written by crazy people in ancient times. Don't you think they knew about opium back then? Or other hallucinogens? Yet so many people follow those old books as if they didn't have a single working brain cell. They are in a cult, a brain-washed cult with books to take the place of their robber-baron priests from the old days.
      Brain-washing messes you up in the head so bad, you can even forget to think about anything but the cult / culture that you are immersed in. The cult is the center of their world. Just ask any devout believer in any religion.

      April 2, 2011 at 12:59 am |
  6. Rebecca

    Ignorant Westerner. Don't you know the damage you cause to Christians all over the world living in Muslim countries? They are already under enough persecution and a daily fear of death. They don't need you causing more violence against them. They need our prayers, not this ignorant act of burning the Koran! If you're trying to prove that their are violent Muslims, WE ALREADY KNOW!!!! Stop hurting your brothers in Christ!!!!! Who knows how many more will have to die because of your stupidity!

    April 1, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  7. Dave

    Terry Jones should be prosecuted for manslaughter

    April 1, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      Then you should be prosecuted for being stupid. Jones just burned a book. He didn't kill anyone. Go ask your Muslim friends who killed those UN workers, fool.

      April 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
  8. Ren

    Burning a book no matter how ignorant it is , is still freedom of expression as it does not harm anyone except maybe through some C02 release.
    What the media is failing to focus here is why the big fear of the burning of paper?

    And that fear comes from threats from the muslim world in form of terrorism.

    The message the ignorant christian/catholic evangelicals give is "we burn books because we dont agree with them"

    The message the islamics give is " we will threaten and kill anyone who criticizes our religion"

    April 1, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • Rebecca

      This will cause many deaths of the innocent around the world. This was a stupid act and proves nothing, that we don't already know.

      April 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Worldpeace

      That good argument. I dont like particular group of people, its my personal view and few others as well! If I issue a statement as my freedom of expression kill all the guys and you will be rewarded. If those guys are killed, court will held me as responsible for killing! This Jones should be hanged!

      April 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
  9. Brad

    Both the Islamic and Christian extremists are living with severe mental problems.

    April 1, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  10. cita camaro from ghana

    why chritans are worried about muslems and muslem dont even care about everything that they do ,cos we all believe the bibles of today are not from god even the christans knows that, please america leave muslems alone please in the name of god .

    April 1, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • cita camaro from ghana

      but you dont see muslems as your brothers

      April 1, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  11. Dennis

    can someone tell me were to buy korans so I can burn them , the retarded book needs to go

    April 1, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
  12. cita camaro from ghana

    why chritans are worried about and muslem thasint care about bible cos we all believe the bibles of are not from god even the christans knows that, please america leave muslems alone please in the name of god .

    April 1, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  13. Rowland

    I don't agree with his actions, but Pakistan wanting terrorism charges against him. Ridiculous, they should find the terrorists who attacked the UN building & charge them. We should all learn more about one anothers religion so we can all move past the hate.

    April 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  14. Manny Pereira

    I dont understand what all the fuss is about, I agree that burning the Koran is inappropriate, but the jews burn them every day and tear down mosques in palestine, why dont they react to that? Does I sense a bit of hipocracy within the muslim world? My real fealing is that the muslim world is too afraid of isreal and therefor let their brothers in palestine die on a daily basis and let the korans get burnt and the mosques destroyed?

    I suppose someone wants to tell me im wrong? I didnt think so!

    April 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • padilla,u

      the big fuss is that soldiers in which i am one myself have to deal with the consequences for him burning the book while he is at home in his comfy little house not having to go into stricter fpcons because the germans have to lock down base which restricts food water the what we call poop trucks to come onto base and resupply us and empty our facilities and have to worry more about when the angry mobs are gonna start hitting our base harder because we so happen to just outside of mazar e sharif ....

      April 1, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Mel

      Usted está muy equivocado (You're wrong). Israel doesn't burn Qur'ans or destroy mosques.

      April 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @mel – yes, they do. Do a search on "Israel destroys mosque". I can't find the CNN link right off the bat, but it's been covered in this blog as I recall. Don't assume that Israel is all sweetness and light. They have their war crimes that they are guilty of, but they have more political pull than Rev. Jones, of course.

      April 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  15. Chaiah

    Denying people religion can also be dangerous. I am an agnostic Jew. Dogmatism in any form – including atheism – can be cause for fighting amongst those who are intolerant.

    April 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • airwx

      Agreed. As a Christian, I know I don't have all the answers. There are hundreds of belief systems (I count atheism as a belief system over many protestations). None of them have all the answers. I am working for the day that we can all respect our differences and learn from each other.

      April 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @airwx

      Nice sentiments... good to hear coming from a 'believer' as yourself. Seems that there is so much polarization from full-on believers to non-believers, it's nice to hear someone say on either side, that they don't *absolutely know*... you may 'believe' either one way or another, but you don't actually *know* as absolute 'fact.'

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      April 1, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @Chaiah – Atheism has no dogma, no rules, no statements, no beliefs, no faith, no text to follow.
      Please remember this next time you go trying to lump atheists in with believers.
      And how can denying people religion be dangerous? You don't explain that in your post. Could you give us these mysterious details?

      April 1, 2011 at 9:49 pm |
    • Theoderic

      Atheism is not a dogma! Basically, dogma is a belief system denying any principles except its' own. Atheism simply denies the existence of deities, ie, God, Apollo, Mars, etc. Everything else for atheists is open for discussion. One cannot group atheism with religion! Two different concepts. I wish people were a bit more discernible when they comment on these public forums.

      April 5, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  16. Chaiah

    I just realized something.

    "Jones issues a statement calling the killings 'tragic,' and urging the United States and the United Nations to 'hold these countries and people accountable for what they have done as well as for any excuses they may use to promote their terrorist activities.'"

    I wonder how accountable he thinks he should be held.

    April 1, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  17. Ondrea

    The pastor is ignorant. Can he be indicted for involuntary manslaughter for his role in inciting killing of 12 people?

    April 1, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • airwx

      Actually no, not in the U.S. I would not be surprised to hear of him being the subject of a fatwah or a Pakistani court ruling. Either way, it does nothing to stop the hatred and killing.

      April 1, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Mel

      By your logic, if you offended me and I'd snap and went out shooting and killing people, then it would be your fault, right? Way to go, Ondrea!

      April 1, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • ScottK

      I believe the way the law would work here is that anyone who threatened bodily harm to a person who burns a book would be considered the aggressor and guilty of making violent threats of great bodily harm. Anyone going through with the threats would be guilty of attempted murder or murder if they killed someone. The people who attacked the UN are guilty of 12 murders. The person who burned the book is guilty of being a bigot.

      April 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  18. wwjd

    Let me tell ya'll a story about a man named Jed. A poor mountianeer barley kept his family fed. When one day he was shootin up some food when up from the ground came a bubblin crude.

    April 1, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Mel

      or that is what maybe you´d call it, black gold, Texas tea.......

      April 1, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
  19. 186tx

    burn all the korans, perhaps they will go nuts and kill each other after they kill everyone else around.
    Fanatics that what we have here, how the heck do they get away with it. Close the doors now before its too late.

    April 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Karen

      First of all, this man is not a Christian by an sense of the word. If he was a Christian he would promote love and peace and tolerence for all individuals no matter the color of their skin, their belief in a higher power etc. This Mr Jones certainly has no understanding of the Koran, if he did he would know that Muslims believe in God and also they believe that Jesus Christ was a very wise prophet. I believe that Mr. Jones is filled with hate and uses his so called "Preacher" status to spread his hate. I'm Catholic and I try to practice my faith and live my faith which is to have patience with all of God's creatures and to treat my fellow human being as I would or should I say as Christ would.

      April 1, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  20. Michael

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GfWfWKMDgow&w=640&h=360]

    April 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.